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Editorial: Pashtun long march

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After years of suppression and victimization, the long suffering Pashtuns—second largest ethnic population in Pakistan have finally found a voice and move against state sponsored terrorism and oppression. In January, thousands of ethnic Pashtuns from Tribal Region (FATA), accompanied by Pashtuns from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan marched toward Islamabad, after the killing of Naqib Mahsud, an inspiring model from South Waziristan in a fake police encounter in Karachi—capital city of Sindh province and held a 10-day long sit-in in front of National Press Club, where Pashtun Protection Movement was established to safeguard their people and territories from Pakistan imposed terrorism and military atrocities. According to the Pashtun Protection Movement, more than 32, 000 Pashtun youth and tribal elders have been forcefully disappeared and more than it are being killed by Pakistan’s security forces in order to deceive the international community. Their homes and Bazaars are being razed to ground, but terrorist groups, including the notorious Haqqani network have not yet touched. Public protests by the Pashtun Protection Movement are continued across FATA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan, despite the sit-in has ended, demanding an end to state sponsored terrorism, military atrocities, human rights violations, racial profiling, enforced disappearances and extra judicial killing of Pashtuns in Pakistan. The Pashtun Long March, on its entrance to Baluchistan has received a warm welcome from the public in Zhob and Qilla Saifullah districts of the province and conducted a huge public gathering in Quetta on 11 March. Besides Pashtun masses, a large number of male and female from the ethnic Baloch and Hazara communities also attended the Pashtun Long March in Quetta in order to extend their unity and solidarity. Addressing the public gathering, the Pashtun Protection Movement’s Chief Manzoor Pashteen urged the masses to be united front against Pakistan imposed terrorism and occupation. “Pashtuns in Pakistan have been suffering worst from the country’s military and pro-terror policies,” Manzoor said. Military institutions of Pakistan have been engaged in undermining the Pashtun movement. Intelligence Agencies of Pakistan are threatening the movement’s leadership and activists. However, the Pashtun youth move forward and chanting slogans of “Pakistan military has been behind the terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan.” The Pashtun Long March has been supported by the Afghan masses in the country and abroad, including President Ashraf Ghani who called it a wakeup call against state sponsored terrorism and emphasized on alignment of the people in the region to eradicate terrorism and bring peace and stability to the region. However, the rest of the global leaders and human rights organizations have yet to open their lips against Pakistan imposed terrorism and its unauthorized occupation over Pashtun territories. It’s time for the US-led international community to change its policies on Pakistan and declare it a terror sponsor state and imposed economic and diplomatic sanctions on that country—sheltering and harboring terrorist outfits on its soil, aimed at destabilizing Afghanistan and undermining the US-led NATO mission. The civilized World must come to the fore and support the Pashtun public uprising to root out terrorism on both sides of the Durand Line. The US-led international community could only win war on terror, if we put an end to Pakistan’s lies and deceits by aligning with the suppressed nations in Pakistan and revisiting the unauthorized Durand Line. The Pashtun Long March has provided an opportunity to the suppressed nations in Pakistan and the civilized World to gather under an umbrella and defeat the state sponsored terrorism and terror sponsor states. Moreover, the United Nations and US-led international community must take serious notice of human rights violation and Pakistan’s military atrocities in FATA and dispatch human rights organizations and international media outlets to FATA and Baluchistan to reach voiceless people in the area and trigger Pakistan for its wrongdoings with all of us—a move that prevails peace and stability and ensures harmony.